Editor’s Note: Habersham Christian Learning Center is among the organizations supported by the Habersham County United Way. Now Habersham is spotlighting these agencies to help raise awareness of the resources made available to our community through United Way funding. This article by HCLC Executive Director Sarah Harrison addresses some of the misconceptions that surround this particular organization. The views expressed in this commentary are hers.
Habersham Christian Learning Center has been a proud member of this community for 40 years.
As we’ve served thousands of students in our four, day-time courses, it has come to our attention that there are still some “myths” or misconceptions about HCLC.
We want to clear some of them up, hoping it will grow a greater appreciation for the rare gem we have in this county!
So here are four Common Misconceptions about HCLC and our responses:
- “HCLC is part of the school system.”
While students who take courses at HCLC get an elective credit for passing the class, HCLC is an independently operated and funded nonprofit organization. The only thing we share with Habersham County Schools is our students. If we were a part of the school system, we could NOT read the Bible, pray, and teach Christian principles to our students (like we do on a daily basis).
- “HCLC teachers receive the same benefits that Habersham Central teachers receive.”
We are not funded through the county school system. Our utilities, materials, staff salaries, and transportation are all provided through generous donations from churches, individuals, and civic organizations. Our staff loves what they do so much that they are willing to make 2/3rds of what a public school teacher (with the same education and experience) would make. HCLC staff do not receive a pension upon retirement and do not have health insurance. (Please, see #1 above.)
- “HCLC is only for Christian students.”
We gladly accept students of all faiths at HCLC! Students must voluntarily take the class; each student must turn in a permission slip. In the past few years, we’ve had Atheist, Wiccan, Buddhist, and Jewish students, as well as faithful, church-going teens. We love the opportunity to share the gospel with a diverse group of students, and they love having a place where they experience God’s love.
- “HCLC does not need me, it will always be around.”
This one is not entirely false. We hope to serve Habersham as long as God will have us! BUT, we are only funded 11-12 months in advance, and this is the best financial shape we have ever been in. Since we are not tax-funded, if our donors stopped giving today, we would close by the end of the year.
We are doing God’s work and He has blessed us over the last 40 years, but we still have to do our part. Another county’s Christian Learning Center closed 9 years ago due to a lack of funding and community support.
Let’s be clear, we can do what we do because of donations from the community.
Public school students get to PRAY and read their BIBLE during their SCHOOL day!
HCLC’s Board and Staff want to thank the local churches, businesses, individuals, and United Way for being the heart of our program for the last 40 years. With no hesitation, I say, we would not be here without each of you.
We want to invite you to our Annual Meeting Dinner/Fundraiser on March 26th, at Cornelia United Methodist Church, beginning at 6 p.m. as we celebrate 40 years of God’s goodness to us.
RSVP by calling (706) 778-5483 or emailing email@example.com.
Visit our website: habershamclc.org for more information